The Hosmer Field Complex in Rumford will soon undergo a $440,000 upgrade, which will include replacement of the lights and the track at the facility, and upgrading the walking trail.

Nancy Lever of Mexico and her dog, Chance, cross the bridge over the Swift River Walking Trail in the Hosmer Field Complex in Rumford. The walking trail will be upgraded, along with replacing the lights and the track at the facility.

RUMFORD — The Hosmer Field Complex, already considered one of the better sports facilities in the area, is about to undergo a major upgrade.

Michael Mills, superintendent of Public Works, said improvements to the 40-acre facility will include:

• Replacing existing lighting for the football field (six poles, 36 lights) with LED light fixtures (four poles, 26 lights).

• Replacing the existing track, built 35 to 40 years ago, using the existing footprint and keeping the same elevation. 

• Rehabilitating the Swift River Walking Trail and extending it to Route 2.

• Improving or replacing existing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access to the facility.

The total project cost is $440,619, which includes a $192,000 federal grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Mills said the $248,619 local match is a combination of funds accrued in a capital improvement account from the Rumford Parks Department and in-kind work by Public Works.

Mills said Rumford received the go-ahead July 2 from Land and Water Conservation Fund, which means the town can begin the process of going out to bid for project contractors. Bids will be submitted to the Parks Commission, which will then make a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen.

He said he had hoped the project could start sooner, but there was an issue with the land between the tennis courts and the walking trail, “probably the size of a practice soccer field.”

Mills said that following an old land swap between the town and the paper mill, there was a question concerning ownership of the land.

To resolve the issue, Mill said, “we did hire a title search company. A title search all the way back to the early 1960s.”

As a result, Mills said, the new lights will not be ready for the upcoming Falcons football season. The current lights cost between $300 and $550 every time they are used.

The upgraded lights will be set up outside of the track. He believes people walking the track at night will be able to turn on a bank of lights, which will shut off in about an hour.

Mills said the track will be the same type of surface.

“We looked into adding a lane,” he said, “but we can’t because it would get into the concession stand and the bleachers.”

With the improved track, the high school track team would be able to host home meets again.

“The only thing is it won’t have six lanes,” Mills said. “It’s only got five now.”

Mills said there was talk of installing a rubberized track, but decided against it because the facility floods occasionally when the Swift River overflows.

Public Works will do a little work on the track, but most of the in-kind work will be on the half-mile walking trail.

“Where the trail comes out to the football field, we’re going to extend it to Route 2 and we’ll put a crosswalk there,” Mills said. “It will come out between the fence and the front of the Rumford sign that’s there.”

On the existing trail, Mills said the small walking bridge is going to be made ADA-compliant.

An engineer will look into the area, which washes out near the end of the trail by the tennis courts. Culverts will be added in places where water sometimes affects the trail.

At the main football gate, there will be an ADA-compliant gate.